Citizens invited to check heart health during National Heart Month

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DECATUR - HSHS St. Mary's Hospital officials are encouraging citizens to take a closer look at their heart health during National Heart Month.

Officials say in the United States, high blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke, with about 1 out of every 3 adults having high blood pressure.  Dr. Kris Patel of Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. Mary's Hospital says "High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms."

HSHS St. Mary's Hospital offers the following tips to help keep your heart healthy:

1. Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your blood pressure with your doctor. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal.

2.  Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remind you to take your medicine at the same time each day.

3. Quit smoking or don't start. Smoking is one of the leading contributors of heart disease.

4. Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much salt, which can raise blood pressure. Check the nutrition facts on the food you eat.

For more information about National Heart Month, please visit

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